Under Heaven's Eyes – The Systemic and Systematic Unjustified Killings of Black Lives
Resistance Theatre Company
There is hardly a day goes by without some reminder of the systemic racism of society. The image of George Floyd dying beneath the knee of the very police who should protect us outraged the world, prompted Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and drew our attention to other statistics of racism.
Christopher Tajah’s intense fifty-minute performance begins with his rage. There is a lyrical power in the early section and again later on in the things he says about the evidence in the UK of the unequal treatment of black people in terms of police stop and search, maternity care and education.
He has been out demonstrating about the murder of George Floyd and all the other unknown George Floyds who didn’t have someone with a smartphone to record the horrific treatment.
As he sends a message to members of his family in America, he worries about the way they may be treated. He is astonished that only recently, US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Senator Corey Booker drafted legislation to make an attempted lynching a crime Even now, that legislation is still waiting to be made into law. He reels off the names of various black youth lynched in 2020.
The show’s strength is an ambitious survey of systemic racism and a political outrage that echoes the way many of us have felt about this issue. However, the play is dramatically flawed. We don’t have much idea who our speaker is or why in particular he is so intense. There is no dramatic journey, the character is as intense at the end as he was at the beginning. The content of what he says could almost be at times a spoken version of a political leaflet from a BLM demonstration.
This is an important work in progress that even in its present form gives us much to think about. Hopefully, the drama will catch up with its politics.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna